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In Memory of Ann Wolpert

Ann Wolpert,
image © MIT

Ann J. Wolpert, director of the MIT Libraries since 1996, passed away at the age of 70 after a brief illness, MIT announced on October 2. Ann was a champion of digital preservation and open access to information. Under her leadership, the MIT Libraries developed DSpace, an open-source repository application now in use by more than 1,000 institutions around the world. She also played a key role in the passage of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, one of the first institution-wide open access policies in the US.

The ARL community relied on Ann for her thoughtful articulation of issues and wise counsel. She often asked tough and important questions and challenged the community to collaborate in new ways. Ann recognized that the advent of the web and digital, networked technologies presented new roles for research libraries in supporting the academy, and her leadership provided essential insight to move the research library community forward.

Ann served on more than a dozen ARL committees as well as the ARL Board of Directors during her 17 years as director of MIT Libraries. She was an ARL Board member from 2000 through 2006, and was elected ARL president for the term 2004–2005. Ann served as an ex officio ARL Board member while chair of the Advancing Scholarly Communication Committee in 2011–2012. Most recently she was a member of the ARL Influencing Public Policies Steering Committee and the AAUP/ARL Working Group on University Press/Research Library Collaboration.

Over her career, Ann served on the boards of directors of the Boston Library Consortium, the National Academies’ Board of Research Data and Information (BRDI), DuraSpace, and the Digital Preservation Network (DPN), and on the steering committee of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). She was also a publications advisor to the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Prior to her time at MIT, Ann was executive director of library and information services at the Harvard Business School. Before working at Harvard, she managed the information center and consulted for Arthur D. Little, an international management consulting firm.

For more details about Ann Wolpert’s career, see the October 2 MIT News article, “Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries, Has Died at 70.”